Another thing about Ricky Gervais’s bit of Facebook wisdom is how childishly wrong it is as a claim (much less an argument).
If you grabbed Hitler and shouted “stop killing innocent people you cunt”, someone on Facebook would call you out on your sexist language.
Well first we have to accept that “you” can “grab” Hitler in the same world where people will comment on Facebook about what you shouted at him. It’s too much to ask us to accept that. If Ricky Gervais were in a position to “grab” Hitler and shout something at him, he wouldn’t be in a position to report his shouting on Facebook.
Then, an even more demanding task: we have to accept that grabbing and shouting at Hitler is some kind of important useful, even heroic work that shouldn’t be interrupted by people objecting to sexist language. But is it? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think Hitler would have been dissuaded from killing millions of people by Ricky Gervais, no matter how loudly Ricky Gervais called him a cunt.
Then we have to accept the hidden premise: that if someone is really really terrible, the way Hitler was, then it’s ok to call that person a cunt.
Well that’s just fucking stupid. The two things aren’t even related to each other. Calling a really terrible person a name, any name, makes no difference to anything. It’s idiotic to defend it in the guise of heroic resistance work.
So that’s one thing. It’s totally beside the point. And the other thing is, it’s still bad to use sexist (or racist etc but Ricky Gervais didn’t talk about any of those, it’s only the sexist ones he’s defending) epithets. It doesn’t become ok to use them once you get VERY angry or VERY upset. There isn’t a gauge you can check to see if you’re angry or upset enough to start using sexist epithets. There isn’t some point at which it becomes ok. As sadly usual, this becomes easier to see if you swap a racist epithet for the sexist one. Suppose some white Republican legislator writes a law making it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage (hello Tennessee!); does that make it ok to call that legislator a nigger or a wetback?
This isn’t a hill anyone should want to die on. It’s pathetic. It’s pathetic to see grown men pitching baby fits over their precious right to call people cunts. It’s gervaisy and pathetic.